Woodinville father and son part of search team for diver
by Marie Griffin
Good Samaritans are still very much alive in the Pacific Northwest. John Pownall, Sr. and John Pownall, Jr. of Woodinville were among the private diving group called to search for a diver missing May 12 in waters near Bremerton.
Using tens of thousands of dollars of their own equipment and donating time from their jobs and businesses, a six-man private diving group spent nearly a day underwater at depths of over 200 feet searching for the missing Kirkland man.
The body of the missing diver, Michael Rivera, Kirkland, was found by Dan Wible Tuesday morning at 9 a.m., in 50 feet of water near Waterman Point Wall in the Rich Passage.
"The official search was called off Sunday afternoon, and if it weren't for the private diving group, Rivera's body would not have been recovered," said Paul Walser.
Walser, of Renton, a diver and the owner of the Genie Aye, a scuba diving charter boat, organized the private search Monday with some of Puget Sound's most proficient scuba divers. The team consisted of Walser; John Pownall, Sr., owner of World Transport; John Pownall, Jr., owner of Professional Trucking, and Asst. Instructor with Underwater Sports, Kirkland; Bill Jones, Bremerton, owner of Puget Sound Dive Enterprises; Steve Morrison, Bremerton, Instructor for Puget Sound Enterprises; Dan Wible, Des Moines, owner of the Association of Underwater Rebreather Apparatus; Pierre Cote, Development Engineer, Microsoft, and a Dive Master for Underwater Sports, Kirkland; and Brock Wheaton, Seattle, Svc. Mgr., Downtown Harley Davidson, who has performed stunt motorcycle riding at Duvall Days with the Seattle Cossacks.
"While of diverse backgrounds and never having searched together, the group worked well together," Walser said.
Wible was using a rebreather in the search with a tri-mix of air, which gave him unlimited bottom time and the ability to dive to extreme depths for the search.
"If it weren't for his role in the search, this man may not have been found," said Pownall, Jr.